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£20,000 reward in hunt to track down attacker who stabbed police officer in North Ayrshire | UK News

A £20,000 reward is being offered in the hunt for an attacker who stabbed a police officer last month.

The 30-year-old was attacked in North Ayrshire while three officers were investigating a report of a break-in at a property in Arthur Street, Stevenston, during the early hours of 18 October.

At the time, Chief Superintendent Raymond Higgins branded the attack “despicable”.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) reported that the officer sustained a “significant injury”, but colleagues would rally round.

The force’s union condemned the “traumatic incident” and said it showed the “unpredictable nature of policing”.

No one else was injured and, to date, no one has been charged over the stabbing.

Crimestoppers is now offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information that leads to a conviction in connection with the case.

The charity, which is independent of the police, guarantees the anonymity of any individual who comes forward.

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Angela Parker, Crimestoppers national manager for Scotland, said: “Whilst we are not the police, our charity works closely with them every day by passing on essential tip-offs given to us anonymously.

“Our role is vital in keeping people and communities safe.

“We understand that it can be difficult to come forward with crime information, which is why our charity is here to support anyone who wants to make a difference but feels unable to speak directly to law enforcement.”

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s Top Gear co-host ‘proud’ show team ‘kept everything quiet’ after test track crash | Ents & Arts News

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s Top Gear co-host has praised the team behind the programme for keeping the details of the cricket star’s test track crash out of the public eye.

Chris Harris said on BBC Breakfast today that the former England cricket captain is still recovering from his injuries but is “healing”.

Flintoff, 45, was taken to hospital after he was hurt while filming Top Gear at its test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome last December.

He had facial injuries when he appeared in public for the first time with England’s cricket team in September, nine months afterwards.

Harris, who joined Top Gear in 2016, said of his co-star: “I think he’s healing.

“It was a serious incident. I’m not going to say any more than that.

“As I’ve said in the book and in the few interviews I’ve given, I’m so proud of the fact that team Top Gear kept everything quiet and we were dignified.

“There is nothing out there about what happened and there won’t be. There’s no mole in the organisation. I’m really, really proud of that.

“As long as he’s healing, it’s great to see him out and about being passionate about cricket.

“I’m sad I’m not doing Top Gear with him at the moment, but that’s life.

“It’s the best thing for him right now.”

Top Gear presenters Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. PA Photo/BBC/Lee Brimble.
Chris Harris (pictured, right) said: ‘I think he’s healing. It was a serious incident’

Filming on the series was halted following the incident.

Flintoff’s son, Corey, said at the time that he was “lucky to be alive” and described it as a “pretty nasty crash”.

The BBC said in October it had agreed a financial settlement with the injured presenter following his crash – reported to be worth £9m.

Both Flintoff and the BBC were “satisfied” with the agreement, according to The Sun, which also quoted a “show insider” who said there was “no way it [Top Gear] could continue”.

A BBC spokesperson said last month: “A decision on the timing of future Top Gear shows will be made in due course with BBC Content.”

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Flintoff in September

‘I had nothing to do’ – Harris

Discussing the impact the crash had on his own life, Harris told the BBC: “I suddenly had nothing to do.

“I have got another business, which is an online car platform which is great. I do stuff there.

“But my day job went and you can imagine your muscle memory of working life is really important – you guys have your routines – if that suddenly stops and suddenly you don’t talk to those people, you don’t see those people, then you go into a slightly dark place. I think I really missed it.”

He added: “It does make you reflect on the times that it might have gone wrong, maybe.

“And that made me think I’ve got responsibilities. I’ve got children. Have I been reckless?

“The answer is I don’t think I have. But I did have moments I thought ‘have I pushed this too far’?

“Also, I’m old and I don’t bounce the way I used to. When you’re 25, you bounce nicely. Later you don’t bounce so well. It’s all about bouncing.”

The Beatles: New track featuring all four band members set for release next week | Ents & Arts News

Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr will release what they say is the last song featuring all four Beatles next week.

The track, called Now And Then, was written and performed by John Lennon and later developed alongside the other band members including George Harrison.

The track has now been finished by Sir Paul and Sir Ringo decades after the original recording – using new technology.

A demo was first recorded by Lennon in the late 1970s at his New York home and features piano music.

After his death in 1980 aged 40, Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono gave the recording to the band along with Free As A Bird and Real Love, which were released by the band in the 1990s.

Former Beatles Ringo Starr (L) and Paul McCartney attend the world premiere of 'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years' in London, Britain September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Former Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney in 2016

During this period, Harrison, Sir Paul and Sir Ringo recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for Now And Then with producer and musician Jeff Lynne.

But the band did not release the song – blaming issues extracting Lennon’s vocals and piano in a clear mix due to limited technology at the time.

Harrison died in November 2001 aged 58.

New audio restoration technology has now allowed for vocals, music and conservations by the band to be isolated.

FILE - The Beatles are seen performing, date unknown. From left to right: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon. McCartney has revisited the breakup of The Beatles, refuting the suggestion that he was responsible for the group’s demise. Speaking on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “This Cultural Life’’ that is scheduled to air Oct 23, McCartney said it was John Lennon who wanted to disband The Beatles. (AP Photo)
Pic: AP

Lennon’s decades-old demo and Harrison’s electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 were both included on the track, which Sir Paul and Sir Ringo finished last year.

Backing vocals from Here, There And Everywhere, Eleanor Rigby and Because were also added.

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Sir Paul said: “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional and we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording.

“In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.”

Sir Ringo said: “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”

Meanwhile, Lennon’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, said the new song was “incredibly touching”.

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“It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be,” he added.

Two compilation albums will also be released on 10 November – 1962-1966, The Red Album, and 1967-1970, The Blue Album – featuring 21 newly added tracks.

A documentary about the new song, Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song will premiere at 7.30pm on 1 November on The Beatles’ YouTube channel.

Suella Braverman ‘confident’ government is ‘on track’ to reach 20,000 police officer target | Politics News

The government is confident it is “on track” to meet its manifesto pledge of recruiting 20,000 new police officers, the home secretary has said.

The promise was made as part of the government’s 2019 manifesto – but critics have pointed out that it has already missed the deadline, which was set for March this year.

Home Office data due to be published later this morning will confirm whether the milestone has been met.

Asking about the issue, Sky News’ Kay Burley suggested that numbers were still below the levels of 2010, when the Conservative-led coalition came to power and introduced cuts to the police force.

Suella Braverman replied: “We’re confident that we’re on track to reach our manifesto pledge of 20,000 new police officers.

“If we achieve that goal, we will be in excess of 2010 numbers.

“We will be at record levels. We will have the highest number of police officers in history in England and Wales.

lllegal Migration Bill to return to the Commons – politics latest

“I think that’s a huge achievement by policing, a huge achievement by the Home Office actually, and actually a great achievement for the British people and public safety.”

She denied that the UK has an “inexperienced police force” due to the pace of recruitment, saying that the government has invested £3bn in the recruitment effort and “proper training” has been delivered.

“Even accounting for attrition and people leaving the force, we are confident we’ll still be in excess of any level we’ve seen before.”

Ms Braverman’s words come before she gives a speech later this morning at the Public Safety Foundation in which she will urge police to stop “pandering to politically correct preoccupations” and focus on “criminal justice, not social justice”.

Ms Braverman told Sky that “while our police officers are brave and excellent on the whole… I think there has been a tendency for the public to grow weary of some of the timewasting behaviour that police have been engaged in”.

“I don’t want police to be involved in debates on social media about gender,” she said.

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Suella Braverman says there is too much political correctness hampering police work

“I don’t want the police to be shying away from tackling really important issues like grooming gangs because of political correctness.”

The home secretary also cited police powers of stop and search – which have been criticised for disproportionately targeting black people – arguing it was “an effective tool to reduce violence and save lives”.

But she said: “In some instances, we’ve seen political correctness get in the way of common sense policing.”

This afternoon MPs will debate and vote on the government’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill, which would prevent anyone arriving in the UK illegally from claiming asylum. Instead, they would be detained and removed, either to Rwanda or another “safe country”.

Charities and human rights organisations have argued the bill is unworkable and could put the UK in breach of international law.

Earlier this week the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was “seriously concerned” the bill could also expose people to “serious harm”.

Ms Braverman defended the bill this morning, telling Sky News: “People who are coming here illegally are breaking our laws. They are criminals and they don’t have a right to be here.”

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Asked about the situation in Sudan and what the government’s response would be if people started arriving on small boats, she said: “There is no good reason for anybody to get into a small boat to cross the Channel in search of a new life in the United Kingdom.”

Asked if refugees will be able to seek asylum in the UK, the home secretary said the correct way to request help is via the UN Refugee Agency.

Ms Braverman also defended the speed of the UK evacuation operation, which has been criticised for being slower than other countries.

The home secretary said “approximately 200-300 people” had been relocated from Sudan in the last few flights from the country.

Defending the speed of the evacuation, Ms Braverman said we have a “larger cohort of British nationals in Sudan compared to many other countries”.

“I’m not going to sit here in a studio in London and dictate what should be happening there on the ground,” she said.